The Ford Transit replaced the Econoline in 2015 and the global platform is gaining market share with last-mile delivery and service industry fleets. While operators appreciate the improved fuel mileage and cargo room, fleets do not like the premature wear of the front tires and the lack of camber adjustments.
When the camber angle is out of specification on the Transit, it causes premature wear of the inner or outer edges of the front tires.
The front suspension of the Transit uses a variation of Ford’s RevoKnuckle that secures the strut to the knuckle with a clamp. There is no way to adjust the camber from the factory or with aftermarket cam bolts.
In its service information, Ford recommends shifting the front crossmember to optimize alignment angles. The procedure requires loosening the four bolts that secure the crossmember to the unibody. The process trades positive camber on one side for negative camber on the other.
The bolts that secure the subframe bolts are torque-to-yield and Ford recommends replacement if they are loosened – heads up: the MSRP price for the four bolts is $112. The adjustment could take up to two hours to complete. Also, there is no guarantee it will bring the camber into specifications.
If this procedure doesn’t bring the camber angles into specifications, Ford recommends replacing bent or worn components like springs and bushings. Parts swapping to adjust alignment angles do not always work to fix a camber problem.
There are replacement lower ball joints available that can add camber adjustability. The lower ball joint is part of the suspension knuckle. It is lightly pressed in and secured with two fasteners. The adjustable ball joint fits in the same hole and is greaseable, unlike the OEM ball joint.
The adjustable ball joint’s stud is offset and turns inside a sleeve to change the camber. The sleeve is threaded, allowing the ride height to be adjusted. With both adjustments, it is possible to add one degree of positive camber and take away .5 degrees of negative camber. When adjustable ball joints are installed on both sides of a Transit, an alignment technician can tune the alignment angles for the specific vehicle and how it is loaded by the driver.
Perform a complete inspection before the alignment to look for damage.
Since most Transits are used for hauling cargo and tools, keep this in mind if you are trying to solve an alignment or tire issue. An overloaded Transit will have significant changes to the ride height and front alignment angles.